Have you seen magician Penn Jillette recently? He seems to have disappeared. The once obese conjurer of "Penn and Teller" has made 105 pounds vanish into thin air. They say a magician never reveals his secrets, but Jillette is happy to share weight loss insider tips in his book "Presto! How I Made over 100 pounds Disappear and Other Magical Tales."

As you might expecthis recipe for success isjust as quirky as his feats of prestidigitation. He followed a potato diet living on nothing but potatoes for two weeks.

An exercise was forbidden, and he had to sleep all the time. Those are just a few parts of this fad diet. Here's more on Penn Jillette and his vanishing self.

Potato diet: Oddly profound or profoundly odd?

In order to outrun obesity and avoid a doctor-recommended gastric bypass surgery, Jillette decided to go with diet. But traditional ones had only lost him 15 pounds, so he was ready to try something radical. And NASA scientist Ray Cronise had unorthodox ideas on weight loss in great supply. Common diet wisdom says to avoid fad diets or restrictive/starvation diets.

But on the other side of the scale, doctors have long understood the benefits of fasting.

The diet Cronise styled for Penn Jillette was a kind of fast in that he would eat just one thing. It's like a religious bread and water fast. Cronise himself eats no animal products (vegan), no oil, sugar or flour. He's writing a book called "Our Broken Plate" which shows how a national love affair with food in general and junk food, in particular, is killing people.

Folks like Christina Phillips,Zsalynn Whitmore and others from "My 600-lb Life" are nodding their heads here.

Potatoes, no exercise, hibernation broke up Penn Jillette's food relationship.

Cronise's goal is to interrupt or break up the food relationship. Jillette admitting to consuming gobs of fast food and processed food. A potato diet is a simple staple that will nourish without being addictive. Jillette could have any kind he wanted but no butter, sour cream, etc.

So what was that about balanced diet and exercise for weight loss? Cronise reasons that yes, that's the goal.

But a 100-pound overweight man isn't ready for exercise. Ray Cronise wanted Jillette to sleep the weight off. In his "metabolic winter" hibernation of suspended animation, Jillette wouldn't think about eating. To get lots of weight off fast, fasting is necessary. Exercise will mean more nutritional demands and a better odds of cheating.On "My 600-lb Life" Dr. Nowzaradan expects people to shed 50 to 60 pounds in a few months in readiness for bariatric surgery. It's a lot but there's no time for them to wait.

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